Good post from Adoubleuk on LSE re. the drilling issue, I hope he doesn’t mind if I repost here for the benefit of the technically challenged amongst us.
"I heard the story of them not being able to get the casing down around a couple of weeks ago, but decided not to post anything here about it.
The ‘error’ is not exacty what one might call common, but it’s far from unknown. And can be directly attributed to poor judgement, probably both in the field, but maybe also condoned by drilling management in town, or even a direct instruction on the part of said management, and the guy in the field being either inexperienced or not having the balls to argue with his bosses.
When I first heard the news, with the story about ‘no wiper trip’ included, my heart sank. Because the most frequent cause of getting problems running casing to depth is exactly that. No ‘wiper trip’. Space (and maybe peoples’ interest or lack of it) prevents me from making a complete explanation of what a ‘wiper trip’ is about, but it’s simply an operation that (at those depths) would have maybe taken 12 hours. But translate that as being 50% of the rig’s dayrate, the fact that the ‘casing crew’ will have already been onboard (so on the payroll) and the figures start to add up. And it’s a sad fact that for the last 30 years or so, drilling operations tend to be lorded-over by beancounters rather than engineers.
It’s also very possible that trying to ‘circulate the casing down’ once things had got ‘sticky’ just compounded the problem. That’s often the case
Of course this is easy to say with 20/20 hindsight, because a ‘wiper trip’ is just a sort of insurance. As an analogy, having insurance doesn’t determine a person’s ability to drive a car safely. But get involved in an accident when you’re not insured, and there’s generally hell to pay.
The whole situation will probably have added about 3 million to the well cost. Maybe more, I don’t know. But it’ll be investigated, and doubtless if any error is attributed to Petrofac, some of that cost will be subtracted from their end-of-campaign invoice.
But again, word has it that the drilling is now ‘back on track’, and as is always the case, if the well is successful, the delay and the causes will be relegated to the ‘just one of those things’ collection."